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Max Boot Education. (2013) 'Invisible Armies An Epic History of Guerilla Warfare From Ancient Times to the Present.'

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Afghanistan 20, Us 8, Algeria 6, Algiers 6, France 5, Iraq 5, U.s. 5, Barbarians 4, Rome 4, Syria 4, Max 3, America 3, Philippines 3, United States 3, North America 3, Washington 3, Bolivia 3, Vietnam 3, Gerald Templer 2, Cuba 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Max Boot  Education.  (2013) 'Invisible Armies An Epic  
   History of Guerilla Warfare From Ancient Times to the Present.'  

    February 2, 2013
    10:00 - 11:00am EST  

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schedule. >> max boot's present the history of guerrilla warfare. the author posits that and conventional warfare often thought of as a modern means of war has a long tradition that dates back to antiquity. this is a little under an hour. .. >> hosting our event p today is dr. bucci, director of our douglas and sarah allison center for foreign studies. he priestly served as fellow for defense and homeland security.
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he is well verse inside the special area operations as well as defense support to civil authorities. he served for three decades as an army special forces officer and top pentagon official in july 2001 he assumed the duties of military assistant to secretary rumsfeld and worked daily with the secretary for the next five and a half years and then upon retirement from the army he continued at the pentagon as deputy assistant secretary of defense. please join me in welcoming steve bucci. steve? [applause] >> let me add my welcome to all of you. i think we're going to have a real treat this morning. as john mentioned, i'm a special forces officer by profession, and so this area is near and dear to my heart because this is kind of what we do, or did. they don't let me do it anymore. [laughter] i mentioned to max when he came
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in a little historical artifact in that when i was a cadet at west point, i bought a book that had just been published. it was a two-volume set. it was called war in the shadows, the guerrilla in history by robert asprague. that book from 1975 til now really has been the sort of benchmark for this kind of historical review of this subject area. that's a long time for a book to keep that sort of position. well, with apologies to mr. as sprey, i think his book is being replaced now, and max has done that with this book which is on sale outside, "invisible armies," he, i think, has set the new benchmark for this subject area. his book is very, very
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comprehensive, but -- and it's somewhat chronological but not entirely. and it's somewhat regional, but not entirely, and it's somewhat not functional is the right word but topical, but not intiewrly. entirely. that sounds like it's not organized well. i don't want to give you that impression. it works very well, it flows well. max is a really, really fine writer, and i say that from the standpoint of a reader. it's very easy to read in a way that sometimes historical works are not. so i would recommend it highly. what we're going to do this morning is when i get done introducing him, max is going to give some opening remarks for a little bit, then we're going to open it up to questions and answers. when he's done with his prepared remarks, i will come back up and play moderator. i will tell you now when you ask a question, i'd like you to stand up, identify yourself very
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briefly, and if by the end of the second sentence i don't hear a question mark, i'm going to ask you to sit down very politely because the object of this exercise is for you to ask questions and draw from max's knowledge and from information he presents about the book, not to give a speech. if you want to guf a speech, come see me afterwards, we'll see what we can arrange to get you your own program. but that's where we're going this morning. for those of you that don't know, max boot is one of america's leading historians in military history and one of our best historical writers. he is presently the jeane kirkpatrick senior fellow for the council on foreign relations. he continues to write extensively in "the weekly standard," the los angeles times, he's a regular contributor to "the new york times," "the wall street
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journal." he's been an editor and a journalist for "the wall street journal", for christian science monitor. he's written two other major books in the past that are of interest to me, "the savage wars of peace: small wars in the rise of american power," and "war made new." max tends to write, like, really big books. and this morning he's going to talk to us about his latest, "invisible armies." with that, turn it over to you, max. [applause] >> thank you very much, steve, for that warm and generous introduction, and thank you also for your many years of service, and i see a lot of folks who are either current and active duty or retired military, and i thank all of you for your years of
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service to the nation. what i'm here to talk about today is the contents of my new book, which as steve mentioned, is a history of ger guerrilla warfare. and although it may seem thick and daunting at first glance, i did try to tell a good story. it sort of encapsulated 5,000 years of guerrilla warfare history into one book. now, that may seem like a formidable undertaking, but here today in front of your very eyes, i'm going to do something that is even harder; i'm going to try to encapsulate the entire book into about a 25-minute talk. [laughter] so that's going to work out to about 200 years per minute. sofassen your -- sofassen your seat belts, we're going to go on a historical journey here. i'm going to talk about the origins, then how to counter guerrilla warfare, and finally i'm going to conclude about why it's incredibly important why we figure out how to counter
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guerrilla warfare. the question i'm most often asked when i tell people i've written this book is what's the first guerrilla war. and the answer is guerrilla warfare is as old as mankind itself. it's impossible to say when the first guerrilla war took place because that is, essentially, tribal war. tribal warriors going back to the dawn of mankind have been fighting with hit and run tactics. they've been staging ambushes, attacking enemy bushes and fleeing before the main force of the enemy can arrive. they don't stand toe to toe and slug it out with the enemy in the way we imagine conventional armies should. so, in essence, tribal warriors have been taking part in guerrilla warfare for countless years. by contrast, counterinsurgency warfare and conventional warfare are both relatively recent inventions. they were only made possible by the rise of the first city-states in mesopotamia about 5,000 years ago. by definition you could not have
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a conventional army without a state, and so until you had states, you had no conventional armies which had officers and enlisted ranks and a bureaucracy and logistics and all these other things that we associate with conventional armed forces. but guess what? as soon as you had the very first city-states in mesopotamia, they were immediately being attacked by know e mass from the persian -- nomads from the persian highlands. essentially, guerrillas. and so from the very start organized militaries have always spent a lot of their time fighting unconventional, irregular warfare. and you know what? those terms don't make a heck of a lot ofceps. that's one of the big takeaways i had from doing six years of reading and research for this book. the way we think about this spire subject is all messed up -- entire subject is all messed up. we think that somehow conventional warfare is the norm, that the way you ought to fight is to have these conventional armies slugging it out in the open. but the reality is those have
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always been the exception. just think about the more modern world. what was the last conventional war that we saw? this is a hard question to answer because, in fact, it was the russian invasion of georgia in 2008 which didn't last very long, and yet all over the world today there are people who are dying in war whether it's in afghanistan or mali or syria or congo or myanmar, colombia, many other countries. all these people are victims. they're being ravaged by unconventional warfare. but the term, as i say, is off. because this is, in fact, the norm. we have to adjust our thinking, we have to flip our thinking 360 degrees and understand that unconventional warfare is the dominant face of warfare. always has been, always will be. every great power throughout history, every great jenin colluding the great generals of antiquity had to deal with the threat of unconventional warfare including, of course, the greatest army of all, the roman legions. a pretty formidable force even when they were not led by
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russell crowe. [laughter] they bested every, every power in their neighborhood. but rome, as we also know, was brought down, sacked in the fifth century. and what was responsible for the downfall of rome? well, rome was much like the united states in that it did not have great power rivals. it was not surrounded by great states. ultimately, it was basically surrounded those it had labeled as barbarians. and how did the barbarians fight? well, they did not have organized militaries. they did not have senator yangs, they did not have the infrastructure of the roman legions. they fought in a very different style. and yet, ultimately, they were successful. the fall of rome was precipitated by the invasion of europe in the fourth century by a fierce group of warriors known as the huns.
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and a roman historian left a very interesting and perceptive of description of how the huns fought. he said they are very quick many their operations -- in their operations of exceeding speed and fond of surprising their enemies. they suddenly dispersed and reunite and again, after having inflicted vast loss upon the enemy, scatter themselves other the whole plain in irregular formations, always avoiding a fort or an entrenchment. now, think about that description. that sounds a lot like guerrilla warfare to me, and that's essentially what the huns were practicing under their formidable leader, attila the hun. they were masters of guerrilla warfare such that they even pushed the germanic tribes further west into the roman empire and led to the collapse of the greatest empire in antiquity. so in many ways, there's truly nothing new under the sun about the threat posed by guerrillas. they have been around longer than civilization itself. and the fact that the u.s. army
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and marine corps and other modern militaries including the french have to deal with the threat today is absolutely unsurprising. but i don't mean to suggest that absolutely nothing has changed over the course of the last 5,000 years. there have, in fact, been some significant changes. the biggest one has to do with the power of public opinion and propaganda. and this was something that was demonstrated in our very own war of independence. now, when we think of the american war of independence, we tend to think of battles like lexington and concord where the yankees slithered on their bellies and shot at the redcoats from behind trees and rocks in the ways that the redcoats to be ungentlemanly and not quite cricket. now these were, no doubt, effective tactics. but in the end what's striking to me about the studying the american revolution is the extent to which it was decided not so much by what happened on the battlefield, but what
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actually happened in the house of parliament in the commons in england. when you read conventional accounts, if i may use that word, of the american revolution they usually conclude with the battle of yorktown in 1781 at which lord cornwallis surrendered about 7,000 troops to general washington, and there is no doubt this was a massive setback for the british war effort. but the fact remains that even surrendering 7,000 troops to washington, the british still had tens of thousands more troops in north america. and they could have summoned tens of thousands more troops from other parts of the empire if they had decided to do so. but they were not able to do so pause of the power -- because of the power of a new force in insurgent warfare, a turn that was of only coin -- term that was only coined, fatefully, in 1776, the power of public opinion. now, if the founding fathers had been battling not the british empire, but the roman empire, i
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can assure you that the row re-- romans would have come back, and george and the founders would have been crucified quite literally. the fact that this did not happen is because of what happened in an institution that the romans did not really have to worry about, at least not after the rise of the empire. and that was the house of commons, parliament. because in 1782, a year after -- in the year after the battle of yorktown, there was a very close vote in the house of commons to discontinue offensive operations in north america. the vote was 234 will have 215 -- 233-215, it was a nail biter. but because lord north lost that vote and, therefore, he had to resign office. and lord rockingham and his wics who were committed to a policy of conciliation with their american brothers took office. and that, i would submit to you, was truly where the american
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revolution was won. and that was something the founding fathers were very well aware of. they tried very hard to influence public opinion not only in the american colonies, but also in great britain. when you think about documents such as thomas paine's common sense or our very own declaration of independence, as much as anything, these were propaganda weapons used against the british, and they had their impact over the course of several years, long years of war. they wore down the british rule to fight and, ultimately, resulted in this vote to discontinue the war in north america. now, that's something new in the warfare. that's something that was completely different. that was something that, you know, the huns and the romans did not have to worry about, the power of public opinion. but all of a sudden now with the rise of democracy or the spread of media, that becomes a major force. and, in fact, many orrs in the future -- many others in the future would seek to emulate what the american rebels did
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including some such as the viet cong or the iraqi or afghan insurgents of who have tried to use the power of propaganda and public opinion against us. all these factors are especially important in the theories of mow say tongue which is one of the great and, of course, most influential theorists of guerrilla warfare that there ever was, and he had a different view than that as practiced by the mow maddic warriors -- nomadic warriors of old. he wrote an incredibly influential book in 1938 called unprotracted warfare which he wrote sitting in a cave in northern china working so intently that he didn't notice that a fire from a candle was burning a hole in his sock. and what mao emphasized is as he famously said that people are like water, and the army is like fish. he said that it was search to
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keep -- it was essential to keep the closest possible relations with the people, that a guerrilla force had to be extremely cognizant of winning the support of the public upon whom it was operating. he gave instructions to his soldiers to be courteous and polite to pay for our articles and establish latrines a safe distance from people's houses. now, believe me, this was not something the huns worried about thousands of ideas before. their plan was to kill as many thousands of people in as gruesome a fashion as they possibly could. but mao understood that you had to pay attention to public opinion. and that's something that has been incredibly influential ever since. it's especially been influential, even more so, with terrorist organizations. because terrorism as the anarchist said in the 19th century is propaganda by the deed. even more than guerrilla warfare, terrorism is really about selling a public relations point.
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in fact, osama bin laden -- obviously, the most famous terrorist of our age -- went so far as to say that the media war is 90% of waging jihad. he placed the emphasis not on battlefield attacks, but on the perception that he could foster among his enemies. now, the very fact that media has become so important, the very fact that public opinion has become so incredibly important pulses a great -- puts a great power like the united states, especially a great democratic power like the united states at a disadvantage. you know, something very interesting comes out when you look at what's changed in guerrilla warfare and as part of this book we did a database of insurgencies since 1775 which is included as an appendix. and what we found was that the win rate for insurgents has gone up since 1945. prior to 1945 the insurgents won about 20% of their wars. since 1945 they're winning about
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40% of their wars. so the win rate for insurgents has roughly doubled. and what accounts for that? i would argue it's the power of public opinion and propaganda, the ability of even relatively weak groups to bring down stronger adversaries by martialing public opinion against them. that's something that all insurgents try to do these days and sometimes very successfully. but there is a danger here, and we should not swing too far from one extreme to the other. we should not, we should not underestimate the power of girl rell las but -- guerrilla, but nor should we overestimate the power of girl -- girl -- girl rell las and terrorists. there has been a tendency to focus on the maos and the ho chi minhs and think, wow, these girl ril las are 10 feet tall superhumans. that's, in fact, not the case.
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if you go back to the figure i cited to you, even if insurgents are winning roughly 40% of their wars, that means they're losing 60%. and the reality is just as most business start-ups don't become apple or microsoft, so most insurgent groups don't become the viet cong or the chinese red army. and to make that point, i would refer you to one of the most famous insurgents of all time, kay get vera, who once used to adorn every dorm room wall in the world. [laughter] he became a legend because of the success he and fidel castro had in cuba in the 1950s. a very impressive campaign. but it was made possible by the fact that batista had no la psychiatry massey. -- legitimacy. and that's why castro with only a few hundred followers was able to overthrow this state that was defended by tens of thousands of soldiers who had american-supplied tanks and
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aircraft and all sorts of heavy armor. they were incredibly successful in cuba, but when che got a little cocky and decided to try to export the cuban revolution, it didn't work out so well for him. what he tried to do in 1966 was he went to bolivia. but what he discovered in bolivia was not a country with an unpopular dictator. what he discovered was a country that had a popularly-elected president. and he did not have much success in trying to change the nature of bolivian politics because che himself had no legitimacy because he came in as this outsider, originally this argentinean who became a cuban citizen coming in from the outside with a handful of followers. they didn't even speak the languages of the local indians. in fact, che's best friend when he was in bolivia was his mule, chico. [laughter] so it's no surprise that by 1967 he was hunted down by these
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guys, the bolivian army rangers trained by u.s. army special forces. and this is how che wound up, with his corpse being poked at by his enemies. so if even this icon of revolution could be defeated and killed. then i don't want to hear anybody suggest that it's impossible to defeat any group of insurgents. you can do it, you just have to have the right strategy. well, the question is what is the right strategy? there have been many different approaches, but essentially they come down to either what i would call scorched earth or what is off known today as population-centric counterinsurgency or more popularly as hearts and minds. kind of a controlled experiment that was unwittingly run by two of the great nations of europe, britain and france, in the 1950s to show which of these approaches was more successful.
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they were each fighting counterinsurgencies in different colonies on different sides of the world. the french were fighting in algeria from 1954 to 1962. the british or were fighting in malay ya from 1948 to 1960. and they adopted very different methods of fighting. the french exemplified the scorched earth approach, and the british exemplified the population-centric approach. now, what does the scorched earth approach mean in practice? well, we found out from the -- if you want to find out, one good way of doing it is by simply remitting this wonderful movie -- renting this wonderful movie, the battle of algiers, because it's actually pretty accurate. and what it depicts is what happened in 1957 when the french tried to break up an insurgent cell in the city of algiers which was planting bombs that were killing civilians and especially european civilians. what they did was they rounded up tens of thousands of muslim
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men in the caspah, and they sent them in for interrogation to find out what they knew. how did the interrogation process work? well, we know because of what happened to this gentleman, henri, and it was for this sin of running a newspaper that he was picked up by paratroopers from the tenth paratroop division in 1957, and he was taken to an interrogation center. now, we all know about medieval instruments of terror, but henri was to discover a newfangled, a modern instrument of torture known as this hand-cranked dynamo which has, as you can see, two clips. and you attach the clips to the append damages of whoever you're interrogating, then you turn that crank, and the faster you
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turn, the more electricity comes out. so what happened to henri? well, he was of taken to this interrogation center by the paratroopers. he was stripped, he was put on a wooden board, strapped in with leather straps, and he had initially the clips applied to his ear and to his finger. and what he later wrote of his experience was that a flash of lightning exploded next to my ear, and i felt my heart racing in my breast. i struggled, screaming. but he did not give up the information the paratroopers wanted. and so then they took one of the clips off of his ear and attached it to his penis, and he wrote that my body shook with nervous shocks getting stronger in intensity. but this newspaper editor was tough. he still did not give up the information the paratroopers were demanding. so they dragged him off the table using his tie knotted
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around his neck as a leash, and after beating him savagely with their fists, they tied him to a board and subjected him to what the paratroopers called the tuyo which was french slang for a practice that we know as waterboarding. and he said i had the impression of drowning and a terrible agony of death itself took possession of me. after this ordeal he was dragged, still naked, thrown into a cell on a mattress stuffed with barbed wire and left to spend the night listening to the thuds and the screams resonating around the interrogation center. now, that's a very tough approach to doing counterinsurgency. now, we sometimes hear that torture doesn't work. well, don't you believe it. there are however morally questionable or reprehensible it may be, it can be tactically effective and, n., it was tactically effective for the french in the battle of algiers.
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within nine months, they had managed to get all the insurgent leaders to rat each other out. they had rolled up the entire network in algiers. and by the end of 1957, algiers was safe. so you could argue in a tactical sense, in a tactical sense, the french had won the battle of algiers. the problem was the publicity that attended their practices. and they could not keep secret the way they were treating detainees. henri was, for example, allowed to live after his interrogation as many detainees were not, and he became a book which bam a bestseller in france -- became a bestseller in france. and there were others who spilled the beans, and can that caused a huge backlash not only in france, but around the world. and ultimately, it was that public backlash that cost france the algerian war. by 19 62 they had to grant algeria independence, and so the scorched % tactics which had been effective for them
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backfired and led to eventual defeat in algeria. now, on the other side of the world at virtually the same time, the british were fighting their own counterinsurgency in malay ya. and the war effort there starting in 952 was led by this man, general sir gerald templer who should not be confused with this man, the actor david incentiven, for whom he is a dead ringer. [laughter] so this man, not this man, but this man, was the british commander in malay ya, and when he arrived in kuala lumpur in 1952, he found a deeply entrenched insurgency. it was being waged by the malayan race's liberation army, one of many communist groups that were trying to take over in the postwar period. they dynamited trains, they even killed the previous high commissioner. in fact, gerald templer drove from the airport in kuala lumpur in the very same rolls royce in
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which his predecessor had been shot to death a few months before. that must have been a chilling experience. so it would have been very understandable if under those circumstances general templer had resorted to absolute savagery to try to terrorize the population into acquiescence. but that's not what he did, because he understood the key to success was not terrorizing the population, it was securing the population. and he went about it in a variety of ways. one of his most effective programs was setting up what were known as new villages because he understood that the heart of the communist appeal lay among the chinese squatters, roughly half a million of them, who were not citizens of malay ya, who were outcasts, who had no real jobs, and they were a prime breeding ground for insurgency. so what he did was he relocated them to hundreds of these new villages where they would have fields to work, medical clinics, schools, and, oh, by the way, they would also have fences and armed guards around them to keep
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them away from the insurgents. essentially, what he was doing was drawing up the sea in which the insurgents swam. he was preventing the chinese squatters from continuing to support the insurgency. he did other things as well. for example, he sent aircraft to overfly insurgent-held areas. and another innovation was to actually have loudspeakers equipped to these aircraft so that they could call out individual insurgents by name and tell individuals to surrender by name, a pretty spooky tactic. general templer also ended this indiscrimination jungle bashing, sending large formations thrashing through the jungle in search of insurgents as the u.s. armed forces would later do in vietnam. instead what he did was he emphasized the gathering of intelligence, and he placed the emphasis on expanding special branch, on expanding actionable intelligence and sending specially-trained units with knowledge of where the
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insurgents were hiding to get their hideouts. he even imported headhunters from borneo to act as trackers. but ultimately, the general knew it all came back to the population. he's associated with two very famous sayings. he said the shooting side of the business is only 25% of the trouble, and the other 75% lies in getting the people of the country behind us. he also said the answer lies not in pouring more troop into the jungles, but in the hearts and minds of the people. now, that's a very famous phrase which has become iconic and is often misunderstood. by hearts and minds, he didn't mean that we're simply going to happened out a lot of goodies to the people. what he moment was we're going to control the people -- what he moment was we're going to control the people, and first of all it requires establishing security for the people. it also requires having some legitimacy to make the people acquiesce to what your security forces are doing. and the most powerful weapon in his arsenal was the promise of independence for malay ya
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because he told the people that if you help us defeat the communist insurgency, we will make you free, we will make you an independent nation. and that's exactly what he did. well, this was not something the french understood in algeria because they were trying to fight for the continuation of the french colonial empire in algeria. and not surprisingly, there were not a lot of algerians who were eager to fight for continued french rule. so templer got it, the french didn't. he understood the importance of legitimacy in any kind of insurgency, and that's something which has also proven crucially important in recent years in places such as northern ireland or colombia or iraq where you've seen substantial success for counterinsurgency forces. many of them have followed pretty closely on the templer playbook, combining security and legitimacy to create a winning formula that can blunt the appeal of insurgents. now, this is not just a matter of historical interest because,
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in fact, just as insurgency has always been the dominant form of warfare, it remains so today, and it's something that we have to worry about as the attack on our consulate in benghazi on september 11th of year should remind us. this is not a threat that is going away despite the death of osama bin laden. in many ways, it could actually -- i hate to say it -- it could get worse with. because one of the major trends over the last hundred or so years is that the firepower available to insurgents has been increasing. a century ago western armies battled insurgents who had nothing more than a few rusty muskets and a few spears and bows and arrows. today there is no corner of the world so remote that every inhabitant doesn't have access to ak-47s, a rocket-propelled yes maid, explosives. very, very hard to deal with even though they're pretty basic infantry weapons. and what does the future hold? well, unfortunately, we have to contemplate the possibility that insurgents could ultimately get their hands on weapons of mass
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destruction. and, alas, we may not have george clooney around to save us. now, i don't mean to be overly alarmist here, but this is something that we have to think about very seriously. and what would happen if insurgents did get their hands on a weapon of mass destruction? this is a map that comes from a magazine that i'm sure all of you are avid readers of called the international journal of health geographics. you can check out your copy at home when you leave here today. what that map demonstrates is what would happen if a 20 kill lo ton nuclear device were to go off in down on the manhattan. now, this device is not a very big nuke. it's about the same size as the one in nagasaki, and that was a long, long time ago. the arsenals of the united states and russia are full of many, many nuclear weapons many, many, many times bigger than this. but this is a rough and ready nuke of the kind that it would not be hard for the iranians or
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the north koreans or pakistanis or others to design. and so what would happen if one of these things was popped off in downtown manhattan? well, the map shows certain assumptions about wind speed and other factors what the devastation would be, and, of course, it's worst around the ground zero, and it's slowly getting a little bit better as you go farther out. but the estimate in this scientific journal is that this relatively small nuclear device would jury about 1.6 million people and kill over 600 million people just from being -- 600,000 people. i think we need to think about these kinds of dangers because they are not going away, and as the iranian nuclear program accelerates, these are very real possibilities that we have to think very hard about. rome was brought down by barbarians. we have to be very careful that
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we ourselves are not brought down by barbarians. and i think the first offense is to understand the nature of the problem. and that's what i've tried to contribute to with this book to show the kind of strategies that insurgents have employed over the centuries as well as the strategies that have been used to counter them. this is something we need to think about. insurgency is not going away even after we're out of afghanistan. this is going to remain the number one threat that we face. thank you. [applause] >> okay, ladies and gentlemen, we will now take questions. we have folks with microphones, all right? please raise your hand, and as i acknowledge you, let the folks get to you with the microphone and then identify yourself. all right. >> yes, thank you.
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cornelia white, u.s. air force. where does rule of law fit into this? >> well, rule of law can be a very important part of establishing legitimacy because, as i said, it's very hard to win with a pure scorched earth strategy. even when you're willing to be as brutal as the nazis, they still didn't manage to pacify the balkans in world war ii. even if you're willing to be as cruel as the soviets, they still didn't manage to pacify afghanistan in the 1980s even though they were willing to kill a million people. because the nazis and the soviets, they offered nothing positive. they offered no reason why the people of yugoslavia or the people of afghanistan would support them. they offered nothing but death and desolation, and that ultimately was not a winning strategy. i think what people do want to see is they want to see the rule of law. not necessarily our law, but their law. that's something that i think people respond positively to, and they see that the soldiers around them are enforcing the law rather than preying upon
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them, rather than sale thing from them -- stealing from them, rather than raping their daughters, if they see that the soldiers are upholding the law, they're going to be much more likely to support those soldiers. so upholding the rule of law is actually, i would argue, a crucial element of successfully countering an insunnier seven -- insurgency. >> right here. >> i'm robert price, osd. secretary of defense. how do we do this cheap and easy? we've done this before here and now twice in iraq and afghanistan, protective periods of counterinsurgency long term even after some of the immediate threats were taken down followed by extensive amounts of nation building, etc. do we have to do that every time, or is there a cheap and easier way to do this? >> well, ideally you will not have to wage future counterinsurgencies by sending hundreds of thousands of american troops to foreign
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lands. ideally, you would be able to partner with foreign troops in their own countries to enable them to get better which is something we've done with some degree of success in countries such as colombia or the philippines. we've seen that strategy backfire more recently in mali where the troops wound up overthrowing the elected government. but to my mind a great template of how to do this successfully comes from somebody that we tend to forget these days but we should remember, edward lansdale, the quiet american who was once a legend dare figure. he was a former advertising man who joined the air force and the cia, and he was sent to the philippines in the late 1940s when they were facing rebellion, one of the major communist uprisings of the postworld war ii period. and what he did was he didn't send an army to back them up, he simply drove out into the boob docks to -- boondocks to get to know the people in the embassy. he went out there to figure out what was really going on, and
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the most important thing that he did was he identified a great leader who could lead the philippines out of this morass are some support. and that was ramon -- [inaudible] who was a, just a filipino senator when he encountered him. lansdale pushed to make him the first defense minister and then the president. and he was this great leader who rooted out a lot of the corruption which was causing people to turn away from the philippine government. he ended the brutality on the part of the filipino army which was causing villagers to flee into the hands of the hucks. he established clean elections, and he basically took away all of the ideological appeal that the hucks could possibly have. this was an incredibly effective strategy, and it's something that we need to think about today because, for example, in many afghanistan i think afghanistan has really suffered over the course of the last decade by not having great leadership, not having -- as the previous questioner reminded us -- the rule of law.
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afghanistan, however, is going to have another election in 2014, and we have a huge, huge stake in the outcome. who with's going to succeed hamid karzai? is it going to be somebody as weak and pliable as karzai? or is it going to be somebody more in the mold who will be honest, uncorrupt, tough, a true leader that the people of afghanistan can respect? i would suggest to you that we need our modern day edward lansdales who can truly understand the situation in afghanistan to win the trust and loyalty of key afghans and find an honest man and, yes, they do exist even in afghanistan. and find an honest man and promote him as much as possible into the office of the presidency because that kind of leadership can be worth more than entire divisions of american troops. >> here and you. >> wanted to return to a point that you made a few seconds ago about rule of law debating
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whether the public's view of rule of law and how that rolls into probably the biggest guerrilla war we're seeing right now, which is in mali. and more broadly across the islamic world because you now have organizations like al-qaeda in the islamic maghreb that are portraying themselves as pseudo-rule of law organizations, but based on, obviously, culturally more appropriate to the region, obviously s a hard core interpretation of sharia that involves cutting people's hands off. then the question becomes is there a universal rule of law that -- [inaudible] or should we just accept that what they're saying is a form of rule of law we might have to go another way? obviously, they portray themselves as a more culturally relevant rule of law-centered organization. >> well, what we've found in recent years is that when you have these fundamentalist islamist groups take over areas
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and try to impose their rule of law, this salafist code which is extremely puritanical, in fact, makes the puritans look like, you know, easygoing vacationers by comparison, when they actually try to impose this salafist code even in diehard, very conservative muslim areas, it proves very unpopular. that was why al-qaeda in iraq suffered a major backlash in 2007, because the people of anbar province did not like being ruled by people who told them they would be executed for smoking a cigarette. that's why the taliban were not that hard to overthrow in 2001, because the people of afghanistan turned against this barbaric code that the taliban were trying to impose. and this is, you know, in iraq and in afghanistan hardly two of the most liberal, cosmopolitan countries in the world. today i suspect you're seeing much the same thing happen in northern mali where the islamists have tried to impose a very brutal code, and i suspect it's not proving very popular.
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however, the reason why these groups can have end during appeal is because there's not a good alternative. and the problem that we faced, for example, in afghanistan is that brutal and unpopular as the taliban are, the government has often been worse because the government has not delivered any kind of justice. what the government delivers is a decision that goes to the highest bidder. and so that bad as the taliban y be, they're less corrupt. and you will get a more or less honest judgment out of them which will then be enforced with barbaric severity. that's not the ideal that people want, but it may be better than the alternative. so i think the challenge that we face in countries such as mali or afghanistan or elsewhere is to try to build up nonfundamentallist institutions of governance and rule of law that will, in fact, deliver a modicum of justice which is what the people want but not to do it with the kind of bar bieric -- barbaric severity. if we can do that, i think we will be successful. >> okay. the gentleman down there.
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>> thank you. my name is -- [inaudible] voice of america, russian service. what about the syria? we see the scorched earth policy and little success from -- [inaudible] what for the future? >> well, it's interesting what's happened because as the power of the media has grown, scorched earth strategies are becoming less successful. these days they can only work in places where nobody's paying attention. so it worked in sri lanka in putting down the tigers, it worked, more or less worked recently for russia in chechnya because the world's anticipation was not focused on what happened there. but look what happened in libya. gadhafi was trying to put down a rebellion in his inimitable style, and there's no doubt 100 years ago he would have succeeded. he did not this time because all these international organizations focused on what he
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was doing. and before he could come in and torch benghazi and kill all the rebels, we and our they toe allies intervened to stop that. now, in the case of syria we have not intervened, but certainly other outside powers have. and the rebels have been able to get support, for example, from the gulf states which keeps them from being swiftly -- simply swept off the board. bashar assad in turn gets support from iran. so at the moment the war is more or less stalemated because both sides have, you know, some degree of support, but it's not overwhelming. assad is very unpopular, but the insurgents have not been able to push him out all the way. but assad, and this goes back to a point i was making earlier about the incredible importance of legitimacy, i would say for most syrians assad lacks legitimacy. he's an annal a white,. he's able to cling to power with
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a small degree of, almost no, but a small degree of legitimacy left. the rebels, in turn, are arguably forfeiting some legit maas is i by some of their excesses, by allowing extreme islamists to take a prominent role in their ranks. and so, you know, the conflict is stalemated. but this is, you know, this is a classic insurgency and counterinsurgency which i suspect at the end of the day will end as a victory for the insurgency. the problem is what's the country going to look like afterwards? that's what we really have to worry about. governments are not that hard to overthrow. what's hard is to establish security afterwards. that's the big challenge. that's where we've struggle inside iraq and afghanistan, and we're going to struggle even more in syria. >> gentleman right here. >> thank you very much. my name is tyler o'neill, i'm a freelance writer with the washington freebie con, and i worked on the romney campaign in
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the fall. and i was wondering, mitt romney talks in his book "no apology" about soft power, and he mentioned it's a weapon we can use against al-qaeda. we send a lot of money to foreign countries, and we're sending money to help hospitals where al-qaeda builds them, gets all the credit for helping the community, and we're stuck in the back. so can we use soft power to our advantage to combat insurgency? >> we can use soft power, but we have toot it nor intelligently -- we have to do it more or intelligently than we've done it today. it's mind boggling how many tens of billions of dollars we've wasted in countries like iraq and afghanistan building white elephant projects of no earthly use in actually battling the insurgency. we would build hospitals or schools or electricity plants or water treatment plants, and i'm not really sure why we were doing all this. i think it's something that i call the gratitude theory of
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counterinsurgency which is that if you give them really cool stuff, they will like you. well, a, if you give them really cool stuff and you're not actually in control of that area, the other side is going to claim credit for it. so if you build stuff in sadr city but you don't control sadr city, guess what? they're going to claim credit for it. but if you don't have security, it doesn't matter how much people like you. they're not going to come over to your side if they're going to get killed for doing that. they're not suicidal. they're not going to commit suicide for a water treatment plant. you've got to have men with guns on the streets 24/7. i mean, it's kind of obvious, but this is the'sceps of the surge that was -- essence of the surge that was implemented in 2007. it was the realization you can't just do drive-byes. you've got to control the neighborhoods, protect the people. and, sure, there's some spending that can be helpful with some jobs programs to put unemployed young men to work so they're not
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planting bombs, but at the end of the day, it comes down to security buttressed by legitimacy. and a lot of, a lot of runaway spending on public works projects is not going to win a lot of counteripinsurgencies. >> okay, in the back. the gentleman in the fist row in the back, and then we'll get the guy behind you, then we'll get you, and then we're probably going to run out of time. >> nick -- [inaudible] member of special forces iraq, 2006, 2008. i was wondering if you could comment at all on some of the internal conflicts that we experience within the military on the strategy going forward, because i know, for instance, being a part of an oda and being responsible for the same area that maybe a convention al-bahary divide would hand and having to deal with -- [inaudible] in different cases and very different approaches to counterinsurgency in each one. so there was that aspect of it,
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but there was also the portion where special forces we kind of take ownership of unconventional warfare and counterinsurgency. and it seemed especially toward the latter days of iraq and afghanistan we were kind of pushed to the back of the room. so just wondered if you had comments on that. >> first, let me reiterate what i said earlier which is thank you for your service and the service of so many others in this room. but to answer your question, it's a good one, because you're right, that traditionally the sf, the army special forces, the green berets have taken the lead role in unconventional warfare and in dealing with guerrillas and, in fact, acting as guerrillas themselves. the conventional army, the big army has been very resistant to that kind of mission, and we have paid, i think, a very heavy price in our recent military history for that resistance. because we went into vietnam with a fairly arrogant attitude such as, you know, a u.s. army chief of staff in the early 1960s who famously said any
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good soldier can handle guerrillas. this notion that, well, you know, if we can fight the red army, we don't have to worry about guerrillas, but, in fact, guerrillas fight in a very different manner. and the same armed forces that wiped the floor ultimately wound up losing to the viet cong. along the way, however, i think the army and the marine corps learned a lot of very valuable lessons so that by the end of the vietnam war, they were actually pretty formidable counterip jury cement -- counterinsurgents. the manuals were literally thrown in the waste paper basket, and they said, whew, we're done with that. we never want to do this again. let's get back to fighting the red army. so when the army went into afghanistan and iraq, the big army, and i'm not talking about the special forces, the big army was not well prepared. and i think we paid a heavy price for the fact that we didn't even have an army/marine manual counterinsurgency until the end of 2006. well, along the way with -- getting back to what i said a
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second ago -- the army is an adaptive, learning organization. it can figure out what's going on. and along the way all these ncos and junior officers, they figured out what to do. they didn't have any manual, they just figured it out. and along the way the u.s. army and the marine corps i think in the last decade have become, perhaps, the finest counterinsurgency force the world has ever seen. i mean, what these young officers and nco are able to do in the field is mind boggling because they're manipulating so many lines of operations to get the effects they want. they're incredibly good at doing this kind of stuff which is a lot hart harder than just laying down precepts. you have to apply them to a specific cultural context. and they have to understand that concept in a way they did not at the beginning of the war. my concern is what's going to happen now that we're out of iraq, we're about to get out of afghanistan. i hear a lot of people in the army saying, whew, thank goodness that's over, we never want to do that anymore. we'll fight somebody like the
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red army if they would be obliging enough to come out and let us whack them. [laughter] well, you know, i wish there were people, more leaders out there as stupid as saddam hussein, but i am concerned there may not be because, you know, saddam was very obliging, twice putting these giant tank armies in the desert with big flags on them and hit me signs so we could annihilate them. i'm concerned there may not be other leaders, i'm sorry to say, who are willing to do that. in fact, i suspect our adversaries have learned from the experience of saddam hussein who would up, by the way, getting killed for his troubles. so i suspect our adversaries have learned it's smarter to fight us with irregular tactics, so my concern is that is what we're going to see more of in the future. and i'm worried that the army and the marine corps are going to be in for a big, nasty surprise because i'm very concerned their going to forget the lessons they've learned at such great cost over the last decade. >> i'm sorry, i'm going to change my mind because we're running out of time.
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i want to ask max to take two more minutes to do a closing, then i'd like you to stay in place for a second and let him get out the door because he's willing to stay for a couple of minutes to sign some books, but he's got another appointment he's got to get to that is time sensitive with tv. so, max, i give you the final two minutes to wrap it up and leave us with closing thoughts. >> well, i'd like to leave you, essentially, with where i started which is by reminding you that the way we think about unconventional warfare is all messed up, that it is the norm, that it is not going away, and we'd better be ready for it. and to reiterate what i just said, you know, we will pay a heavy price if we're not ready for it. our enemies are certainly thinking and adapting new ways to attack us, and they're not going to do it standing toe to toe with the finest conventional force the world has seen, they're going to attack our weak spots whether it's using weapons of maas destruction, cyber
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weapons, whether it's going to be staging all sorts of fiendish terrorist plots and hit and run raids and hostage takings in places like algeria. this is what warfare is all about. we're never going to achieve some platonic ideal of conventional warfare because there have been very few of those wars throughout history, and there are not going to be a lot of them in the future. so like it or not, we'd better get ready which i fear and suspect the future is going to look a lot like the past which means that there's going to be a lot of unconventional warfare in our future. >> all right, thank you. >> thank you. [applause] >> for more information visit the author's web site, maxboot.net. >> my cartoons depict native humor, and is at first when i first started this cartoon, they were native characters and native situations, and my
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audience was geared towards natives. but in the last four or five years, i've -- they've become more universal where they've spilled out into the mainstream or dominant cultures. so it's more univ.al now. i'm inspired by the people that are, that i grew up with, my friends, my family, members of my tribe and just basically watching people and some of the things they do. um, it's surprising if you pay attention to what people do and what people say, there's a lot of humor that you can find in that making your own twists and certain things. old people who have read my cartoons for the first time, i hope they take with them an appreciation of the native culture and the native way of life because it's not always depicted correctly in cinema or
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in books. but this cartoon coming from a genuine native american, and these are my views. and even though they may not agree with some of the cartoons or some of my views, i hope they can appreciate it because it is coming from are a real person that has grown up on the reservation and has seen the dominant culture lived with the dominant culture. so some of the stuff that i learned from that i've put back in my cartoons. >> cartoonist ricardo cate, just one of the authors you'll meet this weekend as booktv, american history tv and c-span's local content vehicles look behind the scenes at the history and literary life of santa fe today at noon eastern on c-span2's booktv and sunday at 5 on american history tv on c-span3. >> and now former senator chuck hagel expresses his thoughts on
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the war in iraq and says that more should have been done leading up to the war to determine whether it was the right action to take. he also examines america's position in the world and its future from an economic and environmental perspective. this is just over an hour. >> honored to have an opportunity to be with you and in this house and your guests and those who believe in a better world and how to make a better world because as i look around this room, i see so many people who have devoted their careers and their lives to making a better world. and to all of you, thank you. we, all of us in the global community, appreciate it. and most of you are cometting to make those -- continuing to make those same kinds of contributions. nice to see you again, thank you very much, and to some of our current ambassadors who